UVA Basketball: The last time Tony Bennett lost a recruit to UK, it worked out OK

chris graham uva basketballJohnny Juzang isn’t the first recruit that UVA basketball coach Tony Bennett lost to Kentucky. You might remember Sacha Killeya-Jones.

Killeya-Jones was an early commit in the Class of 2016, a five-star forward who backed out of his commitment in the summer of 2015, opening up a roster spot for a kid you might have heard of, by the name of De’Andre Hunter, who turned out to be an OK fill-in.

I’m not saying Juzang, a five-star guard, is the next Killeya-Jones, who eventually transferred out of UK, after averaging 3.1 points per game in his two seasons, before landing at N.C. State, then leaving State without playing a game.

Juzang could just as easily be the next Devin Booker as the next SKJ.

Where I’m going with this is: fans who think missing out on any particular recruit is a sign of the end of the world need to relax.

Bennett clearly thought a lot of Juzang, based on the offer, the visit that his staff facilitated last fall, the interest up until at least this week, if not all the way to Friday, when Juzang made his future plans known.

I’m thinking it’s also clear that Bennett and his staff had gotten some kind of indication that Juzang was not going to end up in Charlottesville, which would explain the sudden romance with JUCO All-American guard Tomas Woldetensae, an athletic 6’5” wing who shot 47.6 percent from three-point range in 2018-2019, and will be expected to step right in next fall.

Might Woldetensae be the Hunter to this re-telling of losing Killeya-Jones to UK back in 2016?

Stay tuned.

Column by Chris Graham

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Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

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